Women are the fastest growing group in the Veteran population. According to the Veteran’s Administration (VA), there are more than 2 million women Veterans living in the U.S. today. In 2000, women were only 4% of the Veteran population. By 2040, women will be 18% of the Veteran population.
The Veterans Administration is paying attention to this trend and offers services specific to women, including:
Breast and Pelvic Exams
Cancer screenings, including Pap Smears
Heart Disease screening
Limited Infertility Workup
Military Sexual Trauma
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Osteoporosis Screening & Treatment
Substance Abuse Counseling
Chronic Medical Conditions
Unfortunately, many female Veterans don’t know of this support or are out of touch with a VA facility and living in jobless situations. That’s where local organizations like VAST (Veterans Achieving Stability through Training) of Montclair, NJ are providing resources that can help.
The VAST project is designed to reduce the number of homeless female veterans (with or without families), and increase the number of s/heroes achieving stability through training, job placement, and stable housing.
The coalition includes Essex County College (Newark), Isaiah House (East Orange), Bessie Mae Women and Family Health Clinic (East Orange), Urban Life Wellness and Counseling Center (East Orange), B.L.E.S.S.E.D. Ministries, Inc. (Newark), and EYES INC.
Funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor—the VAST project is one of two projects funded in the State of New Jersey to provide supportive services to Veterans, and the only one funded to empower female veterans, and address chronic homelessness among this group.
“Through the partnership with 28 Days and feminine products donated, we’re able to bring dignity to the women who gave time and service to our country,” Ginay Granda, VAST NJ/HVRP Program Coordinator.
VAST’s network of comprehensive services that encourage and enhance stability include emergency housing assistance permanent housing through HUD-VASH, case management, behavioral healthcare, support for domestic violence, financial literacy, healthcare, health and wellness activities; career placement, supported employment, transportation, legal services, access to childcare and development; linkage to VA Benefits, and more.
If you know a female Veteran who could use support, refer to the following resources:
VAST NJ phone: 256-VAST-911 (256-827-8911) or 256-VASTNOW (256-827-8669) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Veteran Administration Women Veterans Healthcare: www.womenshealth.va.gov Explore VA: www.explore.va.gov VA Vets: www.vets.gov eBenefits: www.ebenefits.va.gov Claims Status: www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/manage/status MST Info: www.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp
Locate the nearest VA facility: www.va.gov/directory Women Veterans Call center: 855-VA-WOMEN Veteran Crisis Hotline: 800-273-8255, press 1 Center for Homeless Vets: 877-424-3838 Caregiver Support Line: 855-260-3274